You carry your hell in your unconsciousness and you carry your heaven in consciousness. These are not geographical places, these are states of your being. Asleep, you are in hell and suffering from nightmares. Awake, you are in heaven and all suffering has ceased.
Heaven and hell are nothing to him.
I am reminded of a beautiful incident that happened in the life of Edmund Burke, an English philosopher. He had a great friendship with the archbishop of England – and the archbishop of England is equal to the pope. As far as the church of England is concerned, the archbishop is the representative of Jesus Christ.
Edmund Burke and the archbishop were great friends because they had studied together in the university. And the archbishop used to come to listen to Edmund Burke’s lectures, whenever he announced lectures. But Edmund Burke never went to the archbishop’s sermons – not even once. And naturally, the archbishop was waiting: someday….
Finally, he himself invited him: “This Sunday you have to come. No excuses.” And he prepared his life’s best sermon. He wanted to impress Edmund Burke…and he constantly looked at him, because he was sitting in the front row. And the archbishop was feeling great fear, because he did not see even a sign on the face of Edmund Burke that he was impressed or moved. Although he was shouting and beating the table and doing every kind of gymnastics that Christian missionaries are trained to do, Edmund Burke remained silent, without saying a word.
The sermon finished, and they both left in the same car. Edmund Burke was still silent…the archbishop was thinking perhaps he would say something now. And they came to his house and he was getting out of the car, and the archbishop could not contain his temptation to ask – “You have not said anything about my sermon. Say anything. Even if it was not good, at least say it; otherwise I will continuously think about it, about what your impression was.”
Edmund Burke said, “It was neither good nor bad, it was simply stupid. You made such idiotic statements that I would have never thought a man of your intelligence could make.”
He said, “What idiotic statements?”
Edmund Burke said, “You said that those who believe in Jesus Christ and do good works will go to heaven. And those who don’t believe in Jesus Christ and do evil acts will go to hell. Can’t you see the idiocy in it, the stupidity?”
The archbishop said, “I can’t see it yet.”
Edmund Burke said, “Then I will show it to you: If a man does not believe in Jesus Christ and does good works, where is he going? And if a man believes in Jesus Christ and does evil acts, where is he going? Are good works and evil acts to be decisive? Then the belief in Jesus Christ is superfluous. Or if the belief in Jesus Christ is the criterion, then the question of good acts or evil acts is irrelevant.”